If you’re a fan of trading card games then publisher Versus Evil and developer Gambrinous’s new game Cardpocalypse might interest you. It’s a game about a young girl who moves to a new school where a trading card game called Mega Mutant Power Pets is the hottest thing around. It’s got a great look and some pretty neat gameplay ideas and I really enjoyed learning the ins and outs of it.
The basic story set up in this game has Jess settling in at her new school, learning exactly what this Mega Mutant Power Pets craze is, and eventually getting her own deck of them to play with. Sadly, Jess does some things wrong and as a result the card game ends up getting banned from school because of it. Naturally if you were the new kid around and you came in and got the thing that all the other kids loved banned they probably wouldn’t like you very much and that’s exactly what happens to Jess. The bad things don’t end there though as the monsters from the card game suddenly come to life in the real world. Yep this is all pretty normal stuff for any kid attending their first day at a new school.
When it comes to the gameplay it plays like like an RPG. You’ll explore the world, talk to various characters, take on quests, and have card battles. The quests are a mixed bag with some of them being fun and others being kind of just OK. They also got a little bit repetitive over the course of the game. Even still, they can be worth doing for the fun dialogue or the rare cards you’ll be rewarded with by completing them.
The card game works by presenting you with a total of four different factions to play with. Each one is designated by a certain animal with those being a rabbit, dog, snake, and cat. Depending on which faction you choose to use the gameplay will be a little bit different. Each faction also has different champions and these are what determine what types of cards you can use. If you choose a champion from the snake faction then you are limited to using snake faction cards. You are able to build different decks so that you can be better prepared for the types of cards your opponent will be using. Battles play out with you playing cards using a currency called pet food. Each card has a certain cost so keep that in mind. To win the battle you have to defeat the champion of the other team and of course protect your own so you don’t lose. It’s a fun system and the game has a couple different difficulty settings in case you find battles too easy or too hard.
Another way to customize your play style is with stickers in the game. Stickers are things that can be added to your cards to give them all kinds of new perks. They can make them stronger, give them new abilities, and more. It’s a pretty cool system that lets you take a card you might already be fond of and make it even better. The game also lets you create cards as well which is pretty cool as it makes it a bit more personal. Overall the game is a charming little RPG full of great writing and it even provided me with some good laughs at times.
The graphics are another thing I really like about the game as the hand drawn aesthetic looks really cool and fits the whole trading card theme. The game is wrapped in pure 90’s nostalgia too with fun cultural references hidden throughout which is something I personally really liked as I grew up in that decade. The soundtrack is great too and has some pretty catchy tracks throughout whether it be the main theme song or the music that plays when a certain card is played. For those interested in the trophies the game has a total of 41 including a Platinum. I wouldn’t say it’s an easy list by any means as you’ll have to do some pretty specific things to earn some of them such as winning a match with no cards left to draw and such.
Despite some repetitive side quests Cardpocalypse is a great little card RPG. The 90’s nostalgia that it oozes with really played to my liking and the card designs and gameplay along with the writing kept me playing to completion. I think you’ll get the most enjoyment out of it if you were around in that decade like me but if you weren’t there is still a lot to like here. It’s for sure one of the most charming apocalypses you’ll experience.
*Cardpocalypse is available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Reviewed on a PS4 Pro. Review copy provided by the publisher for this review.